Is your lawn stressed out?

Lawn Stressed? We hear about how everyone I stressed out today. My boss stresses me out my job stresses me out my kids and on and on it goes, but have you listened to your lawn complain lately about how stressed out it is. Chances are you haven’t but the signs are all there.

lawn stressed
St. Augustine Lawn Allowed To Grow To Long

Is your lawn stressed out?

Its pale green yellowish appearance is a good sign it could be stressed. Most people see this sign and think oh it needs more water oh it needs fertilizing oh it has bugs they try to treat the symptoms rather than deal with the root cause. It’s time to deal with it you could be stressing your lawn out and not even know it.

I perform hundreds of consultations a year and hear what these lawns have to say and then I try to schedule an intervention with the home owner on behalf of the lawn to which they are always surprised to hear about this, while most go through a phase, first of denial then anger mostly at themselves for not noticing then finally acceptance, which then and only then can we move forward with healing process.

How to heal a stressed out lawn

The first thing is the correction. You Have to correct the cultural practices if there would be a law against cultural malpractice most landscapers and homeowners would be hung, drowned and quartered. But who am I to judge?

There are 2 major corrections that are required if you are going to have your lawn recover to a happy, healthy state of vigor.

The height and frequency of the cut

St. Augustine Lawn Mowed Too Short (Scalped)
St. Augustine Lawn Mowed Too Short (Scalped)

The amount and frequency of the irrigation

Intermatic Timer T8805P101C Irrigation Timer
Intermatic Timer T8805P101C Irrigation Timer

It has been my experience that these two principles are the most violated and the hardest to convince anyone of to accept much less correct and yet they are two easiest things to correct, Why? Because it requires a paradigm shift from conventional thinking to scientific fact acceptances.

I hear this reasoning from my clients and landscapers all the time “this is the way I have always done it.” And I’m not going to change it. If you are doing what you have always done you will get what you have always gotten.

Here is a simple way to correct this malpractice. In order to get this practice at the optimal at the risk of sounding simplistic, you will have to monitor and perform soil moisture tests but this should help you drastically improve your lawns appearance.

Mow your lawn at the highest setting.

Mow it once a week in the summer.

In the winter assuming you live in South Florida and you have no snow you will find yourself mowing it every two weeks not once a month, a healthy lawn grows all year-long. When I used to operate a landscape company my customers were shocked that their grass grew in the winter, I have to be completely honest a quarterly fertilizing and pest control program goes a long way to achieve this too.

Make sure your blade is sharp if you tear the leaf blade apart when you cut it you will be contributing to the stress and invite pest and diseases to your lawn.

Set your sprinklers to twice a week, not every day not and every other day.
Twice a week to 15 minutes per zone from the end of the rainy season till March or until the temperatures start to climb and evaporation escalates.

From March to June usually are known as the drought month not because it doesn’t rain it didn’t rain all winter, the lawns start to look dry because of rapid evaporation of water due to the rise in temperature, 10 degrees will make a noticeable difference.

In these hot and dry months don’t add more times per week, keep it at 2 times per week but add another pin to about 30 minutes per zone. You should have a rain sensor installed at the roof line to shut off the irrigation system in case it rains. A rain sensor next to the timer is useless. Not all timers are the same some pins are 12 minutes that’s ok it’s close enough.

In the rainy season do not turn your sprinklers off this is another misconception you simply dial it down to the 15 minutes twice a week program and let your rain sensor do its job.

Best time to Irrigate

Never at night, you don’t want your lawn having that water on its leaves all night this is the surest way to get fungus. And never in the middle of the day, it’s to hot and evaporation is the highest. The best time is sometime between 4 am and 6 am then when the sun comes up it will burn off the water on the leaf blades and most of the water is at the roots by this time.

This is how I have 99% of the gardens I manage and nothing has ever died. Yours is no exception. As an expert, I tweak and fuss but for the most part, this is how I do it.

The combination of the right cut and watering will do two things, it will increase the root depth allowing them to find water and not have shallow roots that require constant watering the deeper and stronger your roots the healthier the lawn.

Your lawns roots will be as deep as your cut this is because of a process is known photosynthesis, this is process on how a plant makes its own food mainly sugar to feed itself, the more leaf blade it has the more food it can produce to feed its roots and produce more leaf blades. Too much height on the leaf blade and no light can get below because it blocked off causing rotting problems.

If you’re looking for excellent results and you are tired of the status quo then try it you’ll like it.


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